NEW YORK – Lexus says the ES hybrid unveiled here at the auto show today is one of eight hybrids due from the brand by early 2014.

Some models are slated for markets outside its the U.S., its main market, as Lexus works to expand its global brand reach.

Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager, says here Lexus currently offers five different hybrids in the U.S. and the ES version is No.6.

Toyota’s luxury brand offers hybrid versions of its LS large luxury sedan, RX cross/utility vehicle and GS middle-large sedan. It also has the CT 200h and HS 250h dedicated hybrids, although the latter is being discontinued, Templin told WardsAuto last year.

The ES hybrid and next-generation ES 350 will launch this summer in the U.S., and the auto maker says the hybrid should achieve 40 mpg (5.9 L/100 km) city fuel economy.

Lexus will offer a right-hand-drive version of the ES for some overseas markets after the left-hand model launches in the U.S.

Previously, the ES had been a U.S.-centric model, known for its softer ride characteristics compared with the IS rear-wheel-drive sport sedan.

The ES remains a front-wheel-drive car, but Templin says it will offer a more "crisp driving experience" than the previous generation while retaining its “comfort luxury” characteristics.

The ES typically is purchased by buyers in their 50s and 60s. With its new generation of offerings, Lexus believes the average buyer will be younger, although Templin does not offer an age range.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com